Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Educators help teens with autism prepare for the future.

In order to help students inside and outside the classroom and to help them prepare for college, educators in the program rely on several techniques to help students socialize. The students meet with special services educators during the first and last periods of every school day, when they check-in with a teacher who also serves as a case manager. Often, the students rate their mornings, afternoons and weekends on a scale of “dreadful” to “perfect.” Previously, the special services department met with students in one classroom period, but the tutorial program added the end-of-the-day period in order to help students wrap up their days, Myerberg said. The checking-in and –out times are crucial because it can help teachers and the students prepare for the days ahead and help students process the events of a full school day, said Rebecca Garcia, special services teacher. Having two classroom periods has helped special services faculty expand skills sets students continually develop, Myerberg said. During the two classroom periods, teachers, a social worker, occupational therapist and speech pathologist work with students to expand their social and emotional skills, develop stress management techniques, increase self and environmental awareness, help students recognize their strengths and areas for improvement, and identify a social support system, according to the program’s curriculum. The special service educators also help the students work on time-management and organization, break down large assignments and plan for life beyond high school, Myerberg said.

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